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Everyone Can Benefit From Rolfing: a Personal Investigation (Part One)

Just what is Rolfing and why hadn’t I come across it in all my years working in nutrition and with some of the top spas in the world? It was curiosity rather than any health complaint that led me enrol in a full Rolfing course with Sibyl Darrington, one of the UK’s leading certified Rolfers. To be perfectly frank, back in June when I embarked on the course, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. I was just plain curious and felt the need to experience it.

Sibyl Darrington Certified Rolfer RolfingUK

I have known Sibyl for over 20 years and followed her career in health with huge interest; she was one of the people who really encouraged me to qualify in nutrition. Sibyl is one of the best holistic bodywork practitioners I know, my go-to for any form of hand on body therapy or massage. Whilst totally self-effacing, she is naturally gifted, intuitive and knowledgeable. Yet, when she invited me to be rolfed, I realised I actually knew next to nothing about it. It transpired that most of my friends and family had never heard of Rolfing, excepting a really experienced wellbeing writer I respect who was very positive about it.

“It can be really transformative and many clients report that it carries on working long after the treatment course is over. You have to be Rolfed to fully understand what I am talking about and you really need to do the full course. Rolfing’s named after the scientist who founded it, Dr Ida Rolf.” Said Sibyl.

“Rolfing works with the fascia, your body’s connective tissue. In Rolfing, we aim to help restore the body to its most efficient form. It enables greater ease and freedom of movement, helps release tension, improve posture and balance. I like the fact that Rolfing works holistically, not just on a purely physical level. Some clients say it really supported them on an emotional and mental level as well. Professional ballet dancers and sportsmen use it a lot, it’s very effective in helping overcome serious injury and helps enhance performance”. Explained Sibyl.

An online search of Rolfing piqued my interest further. Rolfing really isn’t that well known in the UK, there is so little press coverage. What’s more, a lot of the content written about Rolfing in the health and science arena online is really quite confusing, talking about our bodies in relation to space and gravity. Sibyl agreed with me.

All that is about to change. Sibyl is excited to be a member of a new organisational body - Rolfing UK – which has been set up to represent British Rolfers as well as educate the public as to the many health benefits of Rolfing® Structural Integration. This is to refer to Rolfing by its correct name which is internationally registered.

Rolfing is very well established in the US and on the Continent; in Austria and Germany in particular, two countries I consider to have a much more enlightened approach to preventative healthcare than we do in the UK. You have to be officially certified to Rolf and now certification is open for the first time to students in the UK (before they had to travel to Munich). Presently there are just 35 certified Rolfers in the UK but numbers are expected to grow rapidly based on current enrolments at The British Academy of Rolfing.

So it was that I found myself at Sibyl’s clinic at the Evolve Wellness Centre in South Kensington, London, in June. In the first session, Sibyl explained that the course would follow a specialised method laid out in The Ten Series, a course of ten 75-minute treatments each taking place on a weekly basis. The only interruption to my routine was a three-week interlude in August.

Each Rolfing session began and ended with Sibyl appraising my posture whilst standing, how I held myself, how I felt, and how I walked. She also sketched on an outline illustration of the human body, making observations pertaining for instance to my resources, where my weight is distributed through my body, the tilt of my pelvis, where more differentiation might be needed in my body and where more ease is needed with my breath.

Sibyl asked me about my state of health and what I wanted to get out of my Rolfing sessions. I explained that there wasn’t anything wrong, that I was happy with my health and life - if sometimes a bit tired from probably doing too much as a working mum. Touch wood my Ulcerative Colitis (UC) has been in remission for 16 years, managed through a combination of nutrition, lifestyle and mindset. Really, aside from my desire to tone up my tummy area after two children, I felt I was in pretty good shape. I eat well, feel happy and enjoy life, and I stay fit walking, swimming and running after two young children. I am taller than average – 5ft 10” - but I like to think that I have a good posture. I am not terribly flexible, never have been, but the chief reason I don’t like yoga or going to the gym is that I get easily bored and can’t stay still in one place for very long.

It transpired over the weeks to follow that all was not quite as well as I thought: I was certainly well but I didn’t realise that things could be infinitely better. I will share the full detail of my Rolfing experience in my next post but suffice to say, that having completed my treatment, I have just signed up my husband for a full ten-session Rolfing course for his birthday present. The full course does not come cheap, however if Rolfing works for Tom in the way that it worked for me, it is tremendous value and a great investment.

To find out how Rolfing helped me, click here.

For more information, or to find a Rolfer near you, visit:


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